Monday 18 December 2017

Finally, some good news for dairy lovers

Get the scoop of the best seasonal cheeses available ahead of Sheridan's Cheesemongers annual Food Festival
Get the scoop of the best seasonal cheeses available ahead of Sheridan's Cheesemongers annual Food Festival

Rebecca Lumley

It’s a good news day for dairy lovers.

A new study has found that eating cheese, milk or yoghurt does not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, despite common conceptions about the fat rich foods.

The study's findings challenge the idea that foods with high levels of saturated fat are harmful and found that such products had a “neutral” impact on human health.

Full-fat versions of dairy products were also found to be no more harmful than those lower in fat, something to consider the next time you reach for the 'low fat' version of your favourite cheese.

While this may come as a surprise to many, Dr Eva Orsmond told Independent.ie that it is “totally incomprehensible that we still think saturated fat is dangerous.”

A previous dietary expert on Operation Transformation and the owner of Orsmond Clinics, she has long believed that dairy is not the villain it is made out to be.

While milk, cheese and yoghurt are stigmatised by their saturated fat content, Dr Orsmond warns against their fat-free alternatives, which generally contain extra sugar and salt in place of fat.

“It is still so sad how we are still lingering on these old beliefs,” she said. (Dairy) “is a great source of calcium. What you have to think about is what is okay, so that you’re not eating too much. It’s about balance.”

According to the Food Safety Authority in Ireland, people should have no more than three servings of milk, cheese or yoghurt a day and recommend low fat products where possible. They note that children and teenagers require more.

Dr.Orsmond argues that such guidelines are sometimes misguided and said that nutritional knowledge is not where it needs to be due, due to a lack of funding.

“The problem with nutrition is, because there is no economic interest, the amount of money and time and effort that goes into the research of nutrition is much less,” she said.

“It’s quite sad that this is still the case.”

The results come from a meta-analysis of 29 previous studies and were recently published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

The study in question was part-funded by three pro-dairy groups- Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia- but had no influence over the findings, according to the paper.

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